NASA Launches Probe to Touch the Sun

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NASA Launches Probe to Touch the Sun
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NASA Launches Probe to Touch the Sun
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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is on its way to the most important form of energy on Earth, the Sun. The Parker Solar Probe is on a seven-year mission that will involve passing by the Sun a total of 24 times. The robotic spacecraft will probe the outer corona of the sun.

The Parker Solar Probe will reach within 3.85 million miles from the surface of the sun. The spacecraft is also expected to reach speeds up to 430,000 miles per hour. It’s also the first NASA spacecraft to be named after a living person, physicist and University of Chicago professor Eugene Parker. The NASA project is expected to cost 1.5 billion dollars.

NASA scientists hope to learn more about several unanswered questions of the universe. For example, what keeps the corona generating so much energy? Another popular topic of curiosity involves the constant stream of supersonic solar wind blowing throughout the galaxy. The space exploration community is eagerly awaiting the results obtained from the mission.

The Sun’s surface is about 2 million degrees Fahrenheit. Below the surface, temperatures reach a scorching 10 million degrees Fahrenheit. Why wont the Parker Solar Probe melt? According to NASA, in short, the heat is less dense. NASA contrasted the differences in heat density by comparing a person putting their hand in a hot oven versus putting their hand in pot of boiling water. Along with the atmosphere being less dense, NASA has equipped the Parker Solar Probe with a Thermal Protection System (TPS) that can withstand temperatures up to 3 thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

The NASA probe was launched into space August 12th, 2018. It is expected to return to Earth sometime in 2025. What mysteries of the universe will the spacecraft unlock once its mission is complete? Only time will tell.

Keep track of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe by following their official Twitter page!

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